Bhubaneswar: Did you know that Odisha has a little Tibet, housing a beautiful monastery and Buddhist monks?
Padmasambhava Mahavira Monastery, ensconced in a picturesque valley with tall trees perched on either side at Jeerang near Chandragiri in Gajapati district, stands tall, dwarfing all things around it even as colourful prayer flags fluttering against the rolling greens and floating clouds welcome visitors allowing them some moments of peace.
Jeerang was the fourth refugee settlement camp for the Tibetans during Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. Labarsingi, Tankilipadar and Mahendragadh were the other camps located within the radius of 4-5 km around Chandragiri. The Tibetans residing here named this place, ‘Phuntsokling’, which means the land of plenty and happiness.
Odia architect Prabir Kumar Dash was the brain behind the jaw-dropping five-storey Padmasambhava Mahavira Monastery or Padmasambhava Buddha Vihar. The well spread-out complex has a huge meditation shrine hall and other small temples, an institute and hostels. The monastery, which took six long years to build, was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 2010.
Full of intricate architectural work, this structure is also considered to be East India’s largest Buddhist monastery. Various lineage, images of deities and auspicious symbol of Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhist traditions are depicted on the walls of the main prayer hall.
The imposing 21-foot-high statue of Buddha along with his two main disciples in the assembly hall is the main attraction here. Besides, a 17-foot-high statue of Padmasambhava and his eight manifestations and a statue of Buddhisatva Avalokitsevara with thousand arms and eyes are magnificent pieces of art.
The ambience here is calm inside and outside and the Buddhist monks can be seen busy in their activities.
While monsoon has its own charm, October to February is the ideal time to visit the monastery cocooned amid the rural landscape of Jeerang.
You can also shop for woollen clothes and carpets at the Tibetan markets in Chandragiri and Labarsingi.